Nick Mullens on George Kittle: 'He Deserves the Record'

Sports Xchange

The 49ers quarterback highlighted George Kittle's consistency all season and reviewed the offense's performance in Week 17.

(On how aware he was of the record for TE George Kittle throughout the game)

“We were very aware. I’m so happy for him, man. He deserves every bit of it. The things that he's been able to do for himself, for the team, for the organization in the short two years he's been here is incredible. I think he has a big impact off the field as much as he does on the field. So, I can’t speak – he deserves every bit of credit that he gets. Very talented player, great teammate, yards after the catch. His skills – you’ve seen it all year – he's done a great job. So, it’s a really big deal for us to get him that record, and he deserves every bit of credit.”

(On the last play before TE George Kittle broke the record today)

“Yeah, so he was 9-yards away. The first one, we were like, alright, let’s throw the hitch, let’s let him catch it, get up the field. Pre-snap, they threw a backer out there so, like, alright, they’re not going to let him get the record. But, we’re like, screw it, we’re throwing it to him. So, he got eight yards. So, we’re like, alright, now two yards, this guy deserves the record, we’re throwing the freaking ball. So, then he caught it and finished his season with a touchdown. So, it’s a storybook finish for (TE) George (Kittle) and we’re really excited to be working with him.”

(On who is giving him and his team the information about how many more yards George Kittle needed to break the record)

“Just the people whose job that was. So, I guess the coaches or the staff.”

(On if he was fearful the Rams would do anything they could to make sure George Kittle didn’t break the record)

“A little bit. But, I was trying to get George what he deserved.”

(On what it was like to see George Kittle break the tackle and run down the field)

“Yeah, it was awesome. He only needed a couple, but I’m not surprised that he caught a short pass and took it the distance. That’s where he’s made his money this year. So, it was awesome, it was exciting. I’m glad we could finish with a touchdown and finish strong. Obviously, the start wasn’t what we wanted. But, to finish the way we did shows the toughness and the grit of this team.”

(On what it has been like throwing to Kittle the second half of the season with defenses starting to zero in on him more)

“Yeah, and they still haven’t been able to stop him. They definitely do. They know where he’s at at all times. Man coverage - a lot of times you’ll see them put an extra guy towards that way. And, he’s earned that respect. He’s earned that respect around the league and around our team for sure and he deserves that respect because he earned it.”

(On his thoughts on the team’s quarterback situation)

“No Sir.”

(On if he felt the Rams knew they were trying to get the ball to TE George Kittle)

“I’m not sure if they did or not. They were obviously trying to finish the game like we were and play every play their hardest. So, I’m not exactly sure.”

(On if he thinks he needs to improve on taking care of the football)

“Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean obviously, you’re doing everything you can to protect the football. It’s frustrating and I think it’s part of the game. I think I could have taken an easier read on the third-and-long. You know, if it’s third-and-long, you don’t have to make the big play just check it down. It’s something that I can definitely learn from. Then the tipped ball to George, it was a one-on-one, I guess you can just say it was bad luck. It was a one-on-one, I held the safety tried to just give George a chance on the opportunity ball, the ball got tipped up and unfortunate interception. But yeah, you turn the ball over like that and games get out of hand quick. I mean, we experienced that today. It’s frustrating. We know that we can compete with any team on the field if we protect the football, but we didn’t do that today.”

(On staying out of the grasp of DL Aaron Donald)

“Yeah, I felt him a couple times. He’s a great player and very quick for his size. He causes a lot of problems for a lot of offenses. I think everybody has seen how good of a player he is and we felt him today. He did a good job. He plays with good energy and he’s fast. He uses his skillset well.”